A NURSE was found hanged at his South Lakeland home after being wrongly accused of inapporpriate contact with a female patient, an inquest heard.

Christopher Milnes, 50, was fully exonerated but at the hearing his family hit out at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust for taking so long to inform him he was in the clear.

The false claim was made while Mr Milnes was working at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in May 2012.

He was found dead at home in Chestnut Close, Holme, near Milnthorpe, on December 16.

A pathologist gave the cause of death as hanging and found no alcohol, drugs or underlying health conditions.

Ian Milnes said his brother was in good health and in a good relationship.

But he told the inquest that in the 18 months before his death, Christopher dealt with ‘so much death and trauma’ as a nurse while employed by an agency across the country, which caused him stress.

This included the death of a child at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Mr Milnes’ mother, Patricia Dixon, said he was a highly-qualified nurse of 30 years’ experience who had been employed all over the world.

When the casualty department closed at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal he went to work for an agency, she told the hearing.

But in May 2012, Mr Milnes was told in a telephone call from a matron at Lancaster that he had been accused of inappropriate contact with a female patient and was suspended.

She said her son heard nothing for months and no documentation to support the claim was sent to him.

Mr Milnes’ Royal College of Nursing representative told him he had been exonerated in October.

Mrs Dixon asked: “If the allegations were serious enough why hadn’t the police been informed? If they were not serious, why was my son kept under such a stressful situation with no information given for so long, from May to October, with no correspondence?”.

She described the situation as a ‘sad, sad pantomime’ and said Christopher was a much loved son, brother and uncle.

“I have received more than 100 cards from people saying what a good nurse he was and what a loss he has been to the profession,” she added.

South and East Cumbria Coroner Ian Smith, sitting at County Hall, Kendal, recorded a verdict that Mr Milnes died as a consequence of his own actions while suffering from stress.

“He was told there was no foundation in what was alleged but he was still stressed,” said Mr Smith.

“He was also stressed from the very traumatic events he had been party to as a nurse.”

In a statement released to the Gazette after the hearing, David Wilkinson, director of workforce and organisational development at Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, said: “It is regrettable that there was a delay in holding the meeting with Mr Milne to advise him that no further action would be taken, which was due to the involvement of external parties to the trust including his trade union representative and the agency which employed him.

“We would send our condolences to the family and hope the inquest has provided some comfort to the family at this difficult time.”